@linkler I’ve long thought the same thing! It’s a really great idea, and I do like what it brings. But yeah, it seems like something is missing.
Up front, I’ll say that I’ve never played with any of the below ideas. I’ve mulled them around for a while, but I’ve never put them to the test.
I honestly think as it pertains to the Winter War itself that the Expansion covers a lot of great ground. I love that the Allies can send Lend-Lease through Norway and Sweden to Finland, as there were actually volunteers from other nations who went to support Finland in the name of defeating communism. I like that Partisans are/can be involved as well, as it keeps Finland in the fight in some little way even if the Molotov- Ribbentrop Pact hasn’t been signed and the USSR steamrolls Finland.
But my overall thought though was more of a “Scandinavia at War” expansion sort of idea, which would encompass this Winter War Expansion. I think if you want to expand on the existing rules, expanding to all of the northern area might make sense. So part of my ideas below are directly related to the Winter War itself, but there’s also some other fun stuff as well as it pertains to Scandinavia overall.
- Soviet Inexperience - I think one addition to the Winter war would be to do what happens to the KMT infantry in the game. As in, if USSR infantry roll a 12 for their combat roll they are forced to retreat from the battle. This would be specific to the Winter War only, and wouldn’t carry over to the rest of the game/map.
- The Nordic Volunteer Corps - Sweden, Norway, and Denmark sent a force of about 10,000 men to help fight on behalf of Finland in the Winter War. I think one thing to do would be the moment the USSR declares war on Finland, you place 1-2 infantry (or maybe militia) on the Finnish-Swedish-Norwegian border to simulate this volunteer force from those countries coming to help.
- Narvik - The northern port in Norway was crucial for Swedish iron ore exports. In the winter, Swedish ports were completely frozen, so they had a deal with Norway where they utilized the port at Narvik in the winter months to export their iron ore. Both Germany and Great Britain knew this, and both wanted to keep Swedish iron ore away from the other. While the game already covers Swedish iron ore in the way of German wartime bonus income for a Neutral/aligned Sweden, I had the below thoughts:
- If the middle Norwegian territory (sorry, I can’t remember the name off the top of my head) that contains Narvik is Allied/Comintern possessed, Germany loses 1-2 IPP of the bonus income due to shipments not being able to leave Narvik in the winter months. I also thought about saying if there were 3 Allied warships off that seazone as well the same thing would happen, effectively serving as a
blockade of the port, even if Norway was still neutral. This might force Germany to want to act in Norway when they may not have otherwise wanted to in a game. It’ll help ensure more IPP come their way by controlling Narvik, I also thought of maybe giving Germany +1 IPP for controlling Narvik in this “expansion” idea, for similar reasons as well.
- Operation Weserubung - Kind of related to the Narvik idea above, I wanted to give Germany some kind of reason/benefit to attacking Norway and Denmark like they did in the war. This one is hard though, as I know a lot of players don’t like to take Denmark, because that opens up the Danish Straights to potential Allied access (i.e. if Denmark remains Neutral the Allies can’t use it, but if Germany took Denmark it opens up the straights). I also understand the point of it being hard for the Axis/Germany to hold on to Norway, making it maybe not worthwhile to attack in the first place (part of my hope for the Narvik rules above to placate that issue a bit as well). My best thought was to initiate some kind of expansion “scheme” for the Germans, in kind of the same vein as the “German Operations Expansion” that currently exists. Here, the Germans would pay a certain amount of IPP over the course of like 2-3 turns. Let’s just say 30 IPP for now (10/10/10 installments). This payment would get you like 2-3 airborne, 2-3 air transports, a destroyer, a light cruiser, and maybe like 2 infantry. So, you’d get these units for cheaper than you would have without implementing the scheme (normally all that would cost 43-54 IPP at a cost of 30 IPP). But in activating this scheme, you’re A) Required to complete the scheme in 3 turns, and B) Required to attack Norway and Denmark on the turn the scheme is completed. The chance to get some cheaper units might offset the hesitancy to want to attack in the north/open up the Danish Straights to potential harm. That’s obviously a work in progress, but could be something.
- Norwegian Nazi Party - Vidkun Quisling was a Nazi sympathizer and was made Prime Minister after the German invasion. Might simple thought was once Oslo/Southern Norway falls to the Germans, immediately place an infantry (or Militia if too strong) on that territory to signify the Norwegian Nazi collaborators.
- Sweden - I had a couple potential ideas with Sweden in this vein as well:
- If Finland is defeated by the USSR, Sweden will be on high alert of their new Communist neighbors. Sweden would become partially Axis controlled. I say partially because I wouldn’t want to make a situation where the USSR stops attacking Finland in games, but would also want to make them second guess moving forward. So, Sweden wouldn’t be controlled in the sense of they would join Germany once Germany and the USSR were at war, they’d still have to be directly attacked/war declared on them from the USSR for that to happen. But the partially controlled part comes to play in that every turn moving forward Sweden gets to make a recruitment dice roll and can place 2 Militia or 1 Infantry, similar to other controlled minor nations in the game. They wouldn’t be able to attack the USSR themselves until war was declared on them, but the potential added forces would maybe keep the Soviets at bay.
I’m sure there are a ton of other ideas out there too, but these are just some that I thought might be fun to implement in some capacity! Would be curious to hear thoughts!